Love is a decision. It isn’t a fleeting emotion, and it stands firm when everything else is shaken. Brayden James has learned through raising his adopted daughter, Alice, that discipline is only part of what is required to establish stability. When a devastating incident causes Alice to see the reality of her prior circumstances, she is affirmed once again in her life at Waldorf. Brayden’s healing love is exactly what she needs, and his blossoming relationship with Anabelle Grayson mirrors that in its purest form. Brayden and Ana are now exploring the facets of their courtship between the deeply desired accountability system of domestic discipline and some rather amusing scenarios.
The fifth book in the series turns particular attention to Waldorf and where it all began, giving the reader a close-up look at the man who thought he lost everything he loved when his parents died. With glimpses at the supporting cast of the series, we learn how the boundaries of marriage are built when love is at the heart of relationships. What began as Alice’s story of forgiveness and healing has turned an entire social circle to focus on their need for unmovable, sacrificial and unfailing love.
The following is an excerpt from the book:
Ana didn’t want to apologise again. It wouldn’t do the situation justice. He had been very patient for the last six weeks.
“It’s time you become accountable to me, Anabelle. Properly accountable.” Brayden looked directly into her eyes. He would have kissed her if it weren’t completely inappropriate timing. The way she breathed inward was enough of a response to indicate her compliance. She wanted nothing more than to get herself over Brayden’s twenty-nine year old tailored suit trousers and get smacked for misbehaving. “Come here.” He broke their eye contact as he walked toward the Chesterfield sofa. She felt wobbly on her legs again as she followed him to the seating area in front of the fireplace. “We’ve not done this before but I assure you it is exactly what it seems like it’s going to be.”
Anabelle’s face burned with embarrassment as Brayden took one of her hands. She never intended to be rude or distracted, although her wide-eyed anticipatory manner suggested otherwise. “Brayden.”
“Sir,” Ana repeated and her chest stung delightfully at his quick reprimand. She could almost feel her heart bursting with joyous confetti. His leading was intoxicating.
“What is it?” He didn’t want it to become habit that Anabelle started conversation right as she was to be put across his knee, but he also knew she must be feeling some trepidation at the unfamiliarity of the moment.
“Nothing, Sir,” she replied, quietly. She had absolutely nothing to say – she was just incredibly nervous.
Brayden pulled her forward and across his lap. It happened a lot faster than she imagined, with intermittent waves of excitement and dread rolling through her. She found herself facing the rug with only Brayden’s shiny black shoes and tailored trousers in her line of sight. Another mixture of anxiety and dread swirled into a cocktail of one gigantic “finally!!”
He removed Anabelle’s red patent leather high-heeled shoes and lined them up neatly on the floor beside the Chesterfield, which caused her racing heart to slow to a methodical thud. Was shoe removing some sort of pre-punishment ritual?
“A proper smacked bottom requires knickers down,” Brayden stated, factually, as he pulled her red fitted dress up onto her back. He cleared his throat when her red satin knickers were lowered to the backs of her knees. He was insanely attracted to Anabelle Greyson but punishment was punishment and he refused to allow his mind to travel to a place that would distract it. This was not a time for admiration.
Ana could hardly believe she was lying across Brayden’s lap in such a state. It was far more humiliating in real life than in fantasy. Even when she imagined the scene she didn’t really know what to expect. She’d never had a smacking in her entire life. “This is what happens from now on in our relationship when there is a breech of behaviour, trust, or a wilful disregard for the rules you’ve agreed to. I want you to take in every detail of this experience so you know exactly what to expect the next time you report to my study.”
“Yes, Sir.” Her nervous eyes searched the Persian rug beneath his feet.
Brayden pulled his arm back and let the first whack hit her backside with force far beyond what she expected. It was supposed to be painful and memorable enough to dissuade repetition of the behaviour that earned it. The dreadfully unpleasant smack of his palm on her skin brought instant remorse and it wasn’t sensual at all. It bloody hurt. The following smacks were slow in rhythm. His hand was heavy and determined as it came down onto Anabelle’s exposed and tender flesh in succession. He decided he wasn’t going to count, either. Anabelle was a big girl and she didn’t need to have a limit to how many harmless swats her disobedient bottom needed. It wasn’t terribly different in his mind, disciplining his future wife when compared with disciplining his daughter. He was a disciplinarian to both of them; the only difference was age. Brayden believed a spanking was the great equaliser – is doesn’t favour anything or anyone. Every woman is reduced to the state of a contrite and remorseful girl through the process. The goal is the same regardless of age – bring a marked change in behaviour.
“I want you to understand,” he said, as his heavy hand continued laying into her backside, “this is what it means to be accountable to me, Anabelle.”
“Yes, Sir,” her voice was emotional. She felt more connected to Brayden in that moment than in the six weeks of deep and revealing conversations. They kept no secrets from each other and Brayden was right; work was definitely the most delicate subject between them. He knew it was a struggle for Ana to separate her career identity from every other part of her life. It was no surprise to him that the very subject would be the cause for her introduction to discipline.
Brayden quickened the tempo of his hand and put slightly more force behind hit, drawing an immediate reaction of the breaking of Ana’s whimpering into audible tears. There it was. Precisely what he’d been waiting for. Remorse. He heard Ana’s breathing elongate between cries even as she tried to control it. She was crying because the guilt for her actions rightfully lined up with her punishment and it hurt. “Right,” he declared, after the last whack. In place of the smacking Ana’s tears were now the only sound filling the study. She looked at the floor through blurry vision like a sorry schoolgirl. Unsure of what was to follow her first priority was to not be a dripping mess of tears and running mascara. Mental note for next time – wear waterproof. She used one hand to quickly wipe her eyes as Brayden replaced her red knickers over her matching bottom. It was only the texture of skin versus satin that gave away the difference between the two. He pulled her dress back down where it belonged and told her to stand up. Ana pushed herself up from his lap and loosely clasped her hands together. Well. There it was. The first smacked bottom.
Brayden stood up from the sofa and signalled with his index finger for her to follow. “After punishment you will face the wall. Put your hands behind your back, please.” He positioned her to face the same wall that Alice faced when she was punished. Ana hadn’t done that since she was about five years old. “I will tell you when to come out.”
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